CHICAGO (WGN) — Former “Cheer” star Jerry Harris has been sentenced to 12 years in prison in his federal child porn case.

Additionally, the 21-year-old is facing eight years of supervised release after his prison term. He will be required to register as a sex offender for life and faces an initial fine of $55,000 with more restitution to be determined.

In February, Harris pled guilty in a deal to one count of receipt of child pornography and another of traveling with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct. 

At the time, prosecutors said if the case had gone to trial, their evidence would have shown that in the summer of 2020, while Harris was living in Naperville, Illinois, he communicated with a minor – whom he knew was under 18 – via Snapchat, repeatedly asking for photos of a sexual nature. 

Regarding the second charge, Harris traveled from Dallas to Orlando in May 2019 with the intent to engage in sexual conduct with a 15-year-old, whom he asked to meet in a public bathroom. 

Earlier this year, the defense team shared a statement with Nexstar’s WGN, saying the criminal conduct “took place in the context of a competitive Cheer Community where inappropriately sexualizing and sexually abusing children was far too common and too often overlooked. Jerry was himself exploited, manipulated, and sexually abused as a child within the Cheer Community in a way that perversely made him believe that this sexual conduct was somehow normal when it was not.” 

The statement went on to say Harris had been in therapy since his incarceration in October of 2020.

“Cheer” was a successful Netflix docuseries that followed the competitive cheerleading squad from Navarro College in Corsicana, Texas. Harris became popular for his upbeat attitude during the show.

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